How can I make friends with my colleagues

Frollegen: colleagues and friends?

You are surrounded by them eight hours a day, share similar professional frustrations, get upset about the same customers, are happy together when a project has been successfully completed and need a coffee together in the morning to get going. If the chemistry between the employees is right, this often turns out to be Colleagues - a mix of friends and colleagues. These not only make you feel good at work, but also increasingly take up a place in your private life. However, queries can also lead to problems ...

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Frollegen: Do you also have a Work Wife or a Work Husband?

Just recently, a Forsa survey found that around half of German employees are already at work Friendships made for life to have. Among the women it was even 60 percent. Most friendships are made in the office, especially if they are singles.

For around one in ten, the friendship goes even further - they cultivate theirs Colleagues a marriage-like relationship of trust (but without sex). In technical jargon one speaks of a "Work Wife"Or a"Work Husband„.

Same interests, same passions, similar career and similar goals - if you are still sympathetic, nothing stands in the way of such an intensive office friendship.

Why not? On the one hand, humans are social beings and like to surround themselves with other people. On the other hand, he seeks confirmation and automatically develops sympathy for people who are similar to him. Frequent contact also supports this development.

First you spend the lunch breaks together, then meet for a coffee and at some point even after work. For example, you go to the cinema or go shopping together. Then you get to know the partner, the family and the other person's private environment.

As soon as you get the Get to know colleagues in his private environment, the relationship to one another changes. It becomes more familiar: Sometimes people talk about marital problems, stress with neighbors and other private worries. When that point is reached, you are well on your way to becoming friends.

That's a good thing, because over time it becomes more and more difficult to maintain friendships from school and university days. You move to another city and see old friends less often. Friendships that arise in the work context take over this place. And yet, friendships in the office are different by nature. your The foundation is the job and that can be a problem.

Colleague or colleague? Dear a man!

Women work rather with men together, only three percent of working women would rather have a colleague. Every second employed person (58 percent) said gender did not play a role in the collaboration, more than one in four (28 percent) However, the respondent preferred to have a man on the team. That is the result of a survey by TNS Infratest among 1,005 German citizens.

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Friends and colleagues: is that possible?

A friendly tone, helpful colleagues and fewer arguments at work: good relationships at work make life more pleasant. But can a real friendship develop from a friendly atmosphere? We think: Yes and friendship on the job has even more advantages.

  • Less stress. With a friend by your side, you will survive even the most stressful phases in your job. He manages to calm you down and helps you to focus on the crucial tasks. Plus, it's good to know that someone is around that you can rely on.
  • More productivity. Studies show that employees who state that they work with at least one good friend are more effective than colleagues who have no friend at work. This effect is due to the increased motivation and mutual support.
  • Better working atmosphere: If a team consists of nothing but loners, the work satisfaction of the employees quickly drops to a minimum. But those who work with friends are happier and more satisfied at work and at the same time develop a better image of their employer.
  • More creativity. The familiarity of a friend gives many the security to try something new and to follow creative approaches. You might not dare to go alone, but the support of a friend gives you the necessary courage.

7 tips for making friends on the job

Of course, it is not always possible to clearly define where a good professional relationship ends and a friendship begins. Basically it is assumed that friends too regular private contact have among themselves. But the exact clarification of the terminology is irrelevant. It is crucial that you yourself can do a lot to establish contacts in the workplace, on the basis of which a friendship can be built. These seven tips can help you Making friends at work and friendship too to maintain in stressful everyday work.

  1. Do not participate in rumors

    It is the basic rule for every relationship: If the other person has the feeling that you are talking badly about him behind his back, no trust can be built. But friendship is impossible without mutual trust. So avoid creating or even spreading rumors. It is also important not to believe everything that is gossiped about the radio. Always form your own opinion of people - you may be overlooking a potential friend.

  2. Be helpful

    If you only think of yourself at work, it will also be difficult to make friends with your colleagues. But if you are instead willing to help your colleagues with urgent tasks or even take on a shift because a colleague has an urgent appointment, you show that you can be relied on. Don't overdo it with the helpfulness though, because the border between between help others and be exploited is narrow.

  3. Learn to criticize properly

    Nobody wants to be friends with a choleric person. If you go to the ceiling every time you make a mistake, your co-workers will keep your distance. However, correct criticism can also increase your reputation. Find a one-to-one conversation instead of bringing up a bug in front of the entire office. Important: Only exercise constructive criticism!

  4. Use your smile

    Your smile can be a great icebreaker. Whoever smiles automatically appears more positive, friendlier, more personable. Studies have shown that employees who smile more often are more popular with their colleagues. That means: laughter connects. Use this knowledge and give a smile more often in the office. Bring a nice colleague with you to the office in the morning and hand it over with a smile. You will feel good, your colleague's mood will increase and you will surely be positively remembered.

  5. Find common ground

    Everyone likes to surround themselves with other people who share similar views, have the same hobbies, or find the same jokes funny. Whether at work or in private life - if we recognize similarities with another person, a closer connection is automatically established. The difficulty lies in first discovering the similarities. So don't hide, but approach your colleagues. Small talk over coffee can be a great opportunity to discuss common interests.

  6. Stay open

    Still, once you've made a good friend at work, don't stray from the rest of the team. Otherwise the danger quickly arises that several small groups emerge at the workplace that do not understand each other. It is better to be open about your friendship, include other colleagues in your good mood and thus improve the team spirit. Also, a friendship doesn't necessarily consist of two people.

  7. Separate work and private life

    This point seems contradictory, especially when friendships in the office are the topic. However, the point is not to take over disputes in one area in the other. You can have different points of view on a professional project, but if you leave the office after work, you should leave the difference of opinion in the office as well. This is the only way you can build a friendship in the long term.

Colleagues can also lead to problems on the job

But not everything is always peace, joy, pancakes. Colleagues can too Disappointments, envy and conflicts of interest to lead. For example, what happens if one of the two friends is suddenly promoted? Or if you are interested in the same position in the company?

Colleagues became friends and now suddenly become Friends to competitors. For a long time you enjoyed spending a lot of time together and suddenly you threw stones in the other's way. You realize that your good friend is overtaking you professionally and you are jealous. The other one comes to the office earlier, for example, or does more in one working day. Unlike friendships that have nothing to do with work, this is mutual comparison among colleagues more obvious. Many friendships do not stand up to this comparison. In the worst case, friends become enemies - and all the positive things turn into the exact opposite.

The situation can be similarly uncomfortable if the friend suddenly becomes the boss. Actually, you were used to sharing your private life with each other. But now in this changed situation? Suddenly familiarity has given way to uncertainty. The friend who has been promoted to supervisor is also in an awkward position because it is more difficult for him to make unpleasant decisions. How do you criticize the other for bad work? It gets very complicated when dismissals are made.

Nevertheless, one should not generally block friendships in the workplace and assume the worst. It makes more sense keep potential difficulties in mind and to be able to react to it at an early stage.

Expertise makes you lonely: more competence, fewer friends

Their competence is undisputed, they make important contributions to the success of the team and the entire company and are gladly asked for advice in the event of problems because their professional qualifications are valued. Experts are very popular with employers and quite a few companies make sure to keep the expertise in their own ranks, which opens many doors for professionals.

On the other hand, being popular with employers does not mean that colleagues see it that way too. From the result of a study at Loyola University it can be deduced that Experts are less popular with their social environment. The scientists found this out by first having the test subjects complete a knowledge test - half were given easy questions, the others had to torment themselves through tricky questions.

Then there was another test for both groups, which asked how open the participants are to the opinion of others and how they would behave in a discussion. The The results were clear and do not throw a good light on those who were able to convince with their expertise in the easy test - the perceived experts.

  • Those who were able to answer many questions correctly were in the second test hardly willing to accept the opinion of others.
  • They also stated Not wanting to waste time on opinions in discussionsthat you disagree with.
  • The experts also had major problems with the to reconsider your own point of view.

Experts are therefore generally more convinced that that they already know better than those around them. This may even be true in some cases due to the competence, but the experts do not allow any other opinion to apply from the outset and also give the colleagues to understand what they think of their opinion.

No wonder many react to the lack of respect with dislike. Expertise or not - social skills are clearly different.

Frollegen: Rules for relationships with colleagues

To ensure that friendships in the workplace are positive and that problems can be avoided at an early stage, it is advisable to follow a few rules. These five rules can help you:

  1. Draw boundaries

    If you notice that a colleague assesses your mutual relationship differently than you do, speak openly about it. For example, a colleague tells you about her problems with her partner, but you feel uncomfortable. For example, you could use the words I don't know if I am the right person to contact. We don't know each other that well yet signal that you do not like such private information.

  2. Do not confuse good cooperation with friendship

    You can get along well without being friends. Because you work together every day, you interpret familiarity in a relationship where there is none. This leads to disappointment when the person's own expectations are not met.

  3. Don't open up to your colleagues too quickly

    Especially at the beginning of a relationship, it is difficult for you to assess how trustworthy your colleague is. Avoid topics that can cause problems. A good start for an office friendship are topics such as hobbies or pets.

  4. Be careful with different hierarchies

    Superiors tend to maintain a network and not close friendships with employees. Behind this is the fear that information that you reveal about yourself and your life could put you under pressure. The greater the competition, the less friendship is possible.

  5. Spend time with all of your colleagues

    Even if you get on particularly well with a colleague, be sure to build a good relationship with the other coworkers as well. If you only spend time with your favorite colleague, the rest will feel left out. In certain situations it can lead to you being accused of nepotism.

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October 16, 2020Author: Nils Warkentin

Nils Warkentin studied business administration at the Justus Liebig University in Giessen. In the career bible, he is devoted to topics related to studies, career entry and everyday office life.

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